Aren’t unexpected gifts just the best? On birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas or Hanukkah, and other holidays, we are conditioned to be in the receiving mode. On those special days, we are not surprised to find a brightly wrapped package with a big bow or a festive gift bag, tissue paper popping up as if to beckon us, “Open me!”
So on Saturday when my husband brought in the mail on a non-special day and said, “You have a package,” my face lit up.
The package contained an unexpected gift from my friend Jenn. I knew that she had been having a rough summer. Her family had owned some retail shops including Hallmark stores. Sadly, with online shopping overshadowing sales at brick and mortar retail stores, coupled with the next generation of the family living out of the area, they made the difficult decision to close the stores this summer.
In a note accompanying my gift, Jenn wrote that the last purchase she made from her store was chosen from among the 2018 Hallmark ornaments, and it was for me. As you can see in the photo attached to this post, my gift is a white porcelain feather inscribed with these words: Be loved. Be lifted. Believe.
Say those words out loud with me. The phrasing is a tad unusual, right? Usually we hear the admonition TO love one another and TO lift up others.
But these words are more of a request. This is grace-filled phrasing.
No matter what we’ve done or not done, or said, or accomplished…we are loved.
One response to “be loved” is, “No, I just can’t accept the gift of love. I don’t deserve to be loved because I’m not _____ enough.” (You can fill in the blank for yourself.)
The other response is to say Thank you and accept the gift; to be willing to be loved even if we feel we fall short of being our best.
The same concept applies to “be lifted.” There is much tragedy, injustice, and sorrow in our world. We may not want to give up our piece of whatever has broken us. In fact, we may have held on to it for so long that we’re comfortable with it. Not happy, but comfortable because it’s what we know.
But allowing ourselves, permitting ourselves, to be lifted from the brokenness can be life-changing.
As the late Mr. Rogers shared his mother’s advice for coping in difficult times, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Yes, others will help us; will lift us up if we will be lifted.
And then finally, “believe.” It’s out there on its own. There is no request to “be” something but simply believe. Believe what?
My gift-giving friend Jenn and I are linked in love by the loss of our sons to drug overdoses. Our daughters are brotherless; our grandchildren are without sweet and funny loving uncles.
But Jenn and I believe in the never-ending power of love. And together we are lifted up.